In 2020, Alsum Farms expands and diversifies operations in Grand Marsh, Wis., with homegrown pumpkins. This season, 300 acres of pumpkins will be planted to be ready to harvest and ship at the end of August through late October. Alsum Farms & Produce offers quality pumpkins for fall decorating.
Pumpkin season starts the fall before by seeding a good set of rye.
First Strip Tilling
First strip tilling occurs early the next spring to establish a good seed bed which allows for living cover between the rows until planting. They rye cover crop helps prevent wind erosion and promotes soil health.
Second Strip Tilling
Second strip tilling is done to continue to nurture the good seed bed to prevent the rye from growing back into it.
Stage the Rye
We scout and determine if the rye is flowering and if not, when will it be. We plant the rye with Vetch. The vetch helps “hold” down the rye after crimping and improves soil health to have more diverse plants in the field, especially a different class of plant (grass vs legume) creates healthier soil.
When the rye is flowering, we can roller crimp the rye down.
Final Strip Tilling
The final strip-tilling occurs immediately after roller crimping and just before planting for a perfect seed bed for pumpkins.
Seed selection occurs 6 months prior to planting. After running trials the previous year and analyzing our harvest data we carefully chose which seeds that will yield the best pumpkins.
We plant at 2200-2800 seeds per acre. For reference, corn is planted around 40,000 seeds per acre.
When flowers start occurring by early July we bring in our bees for pollinating.There are male and female flowers for pumpkins which is why bees are needed to bring the pollen from the male flower (growing straight up in the air) to the female flower (growing along the vines on the ground).
We also use bumblebees which pollinate differently than honey bees. Typically, honey bees visit a couple flowers before returning to the hive, bumblebees will visit many flowers as they can hold more pollen on their bodies for more effective pollination.
Pumpkins are scouted weekly or more to ensure a healthy, vibrant crop.
Pumpkins can grow to a mature size in as little as 3 weeks. As temperatures cool, the pumpkin leaves die down. It is time to cut all the stems and then windrow them. Windrowing pumpkins allows us to pick up pumpkins efficiently and not damage any. Our crew hand harvests the pumpkins and places them in wagons to be brought to the pack shed.
The Final Journey
Pumpkins are washed, graded and packed by hand into bins by size based on customer specifications. Each pumpkin has a PLU sticker.
Let Alsum be your go-to for beautiful pumpkins to elevate your produce department offerings.